Shana Payne, a native of Delaware, graduated from Yale University with B.A. in American Studies and Teacher Preparation. After college, Shana taught Global Studies and African American Studies in the Coatesville Area School District. She then went on to complete her M.A. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Delaware. In 2002, Shana began as a program director at College Summit, a national nonprofit organization focused on building college-going culture in high schools. Her decade of work at College Summit took her to schools in urban and rural settings all across the country, and provided a strong foundation of best practices focusing on increasing college access, school district relationship management and scaling of best practices.

In 2013, Shana transitioned back to her hometown, to take on the role of Delaware’s Director of Higher Education at the Department of Education. In this role, Shana and her team serve as a liaison between the K-12 system and the higher education institutions on issues related to college access, enrollment, persistence and affordability. Her office also oversees the administration of $4 million+ in scholarships. Under the leadership of Shana and her team, the Higher Education Office has created the Delaware Goes to College platform to integrate community and state supports to ensure every high school has a structure to help students navigate the path to college, the development of the State’s College Success Report highlighting issues related to equity and access for students requiring remediation upon enrolling in college and the expansion of dual enrollment and Advanced Placement.